6.7/10
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57 user 115 critic

Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971)

4 mosche di velluto grigio (original title)
Trailer
1:00 | Trailer
A musician is stalked and blackmailed by an unknown killer for the accidental killing of another stalker.

Director:

Dario Argento

Writers:

Dario Argento (story), Luigi Cozzi (original story) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Brandon ... Roberto Tobias
Mimsy Farmer ... Nina Tobias
Jean-Pierre Marielle ... Gianni Arrosio (as Jean Pierre Marielle)
Aldo Bufi Landi Aldo Bufi Landi ... Pathologist
Calisto Calisti Calisto Calisti ... Carlo Marosi
Marisa Fabbri ... Amelia, the Maid
Oreste Lionello ... The Professor
Fabrizio Moroni Fabrizio Moroni ... Mirko
Corrado Olmi Corrado Olmi ... Porter
Stefano Satta Flores Stefano Satta Flores ... Andrea
Laura Troschel Laura Troschel ... Maria (as Costanza Spada)
Francine Racette ... Dalia
Bud Spencer ... Diomede / Godfrey
Dante Cleri Dante Cleri ... Coffin Salesman
Guerrino Crivello Guerrino Crivello ... Rambaldi, the Neighbor
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Storyline

Roberto, a drummer in a rock band, keeps receiving weird phone calls and being followed by a mysterious man. One night he manages to catch up with his persecutor and tries to get him to talk but in the ensuing struggle he accidentally stabs him. He runs away, but he understands his troubles have just begun when the following day he receives an envelope with photos of him killing the man. Someone is killing all his friends and trying to frame him for the murders... Written by Giancarlo Cairella <vertigo@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

When the flies start to crawl, so will your flesh... See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]

Country:

Italy | France

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

25 August 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

4 Flies on Grey Velvet See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was originally intended to be Argento's swan song to the giallo genre. This would later change once Five Days of Milan did poorly at the box-office. See more »

Quotes

Diomede: [both Godfrey and Roberto enter Godfrey's shed, talking right directly at his pet parrot near the stove] Hey, Jerk-off!
Roberto Tobias: What did I do?
Diomede: No, not you... the parrot.
Diomede: [approaches the stove and talks straight to his pet parrot] That's my food, Jerk-off!
See more »

Crazy Credits

You have just seen Four Flies on Grey Velvet. See more »

Connections

Featured in Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 2 (1996) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Very interesting for Argento fans
18 January 2008 | by ODDBearSee all my reviews

The most elusive of Argento's films has become more legendary than most simply because of the fact that it's been nearly unobtainable in a decent version. Most have had to do with very-below average bootlegs that render some of the film nearly unwatchable, and therefore pretty hard to judge. Recently an above average bootleg was released in terms of visual quality and a lot of scenes come to life and one is finally in a position to judge the film as a whole.

Story wise, Four Flies on Grey Velvet doesn't win any awards but it's a good set up for a thriller. Drummer Roberto Tobias (Michael Brandon) accidentally kills a stalker and is photographed while doing so. The masked fiend who snapped the shots starts threatening Roberto, and his wife (Mimsy Farmer) is very worried for her husband. As it turns out, the man who Roberto thinks he killed is very much alive, but not for long. Roberto hires a gay private investigator to find out the truth. Say more and I've ruined everything for the viewer.

If you look at Argento's work as a whole, Four Flies fits in very nicely. You can clearly see a young Argento experimenting with visual tricks that he would later do even better in later films. Story wise, the film is similar to some of his later works and even a bit of a rehash of his earlier ones. Some fundamental psychology concerning repressed guilt and anger (a very recurring theme in Argento's work) and once again the central character is an artist who's thrust into a dangerous world of lunatics and murder. This would be perfected in his next thriller Deep Red.

It's just that the film doesn't have enough material to keep the viewer on the edge of his seat. It drags on too long, many scenes (and not to mention some characters) are almost completely pointless. What's Bud Spencer doing here? He serves no narrative purpose but I'll admit it's fun to see the guy.

Plot wise, this is slim pickens. Argento and fellow writers were lazy this time around. The film has a dynamic start and immediately you're interested. If you've seen The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, my guess is you'll have the culprit here figured out before half time. Plus, there aren't many red herrings here and a lack of suspects make the guess that much easier.

But on to the good things. Certain sequences are very impressive. Brandon's encounter with his stalker in the beginning is beautifully filmed and stylish as hell. A murder that occurs in a park is masterfully realised. Very suspenseful, dreamlike and stylish. Not that dissimilar to Stefania Casini's chase sequence in Suspiria. Another murder sequence that sets up the film's title is also quite impressive. Last but not least the knockout ending (which can finally be appreciated now that there's a decent version available) deserves all the hype it's already gotten. An Argento film is never a complete dud (not even Phantom), it always has some things going for it.

Special nod must also go to Argento for taking things up a nodge and taking some risks. Feeling that the Giallo genre was drying up, Argento comes up with unique ways to keep audiences interested. That special camera, for instance, that captures the last image seen by a deceased person. Well, I've never heard of it and it's quite an idea. You gotta give Argento props for trying new things, even though they don't always work out.

It must be said that Argento should have gone with a different leading man. Michael Brandon is remarkably lifeless in almost every scene he's in. Mimsy Farmer fares better as Brandon's wife and that gay detective provides a few chuckles. That said, most of the comedy here is pretty silly and a little distracting.

But, as said above, this is Argento experimenting with visuals, editing and writing and his later films were better realised. I doubt this film will appeal to very many people but for fans of Argento there's plenty here to savour and enjoy.


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